Burk Uzzle - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Located alongside a strip of U.S. Route 90 in the barren Texan desert, Prada Marfa is a permanent land art project by artistic duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The interior of the shop is arranged in the same manner as a real boutique; however, the luxury goods will forever be inaccessible as the doors remain locked.


    Photojournalist and former president of Magnum Photos, Burk Uzzle, captured the image on offer in 2006. The purple sky offsets the green illumination inside the building, exemplifying Uzzle’s masterful usage of color as seen in many of his famed images of Woodstock, and further enhanced here by the Carbon printing process.


    The remarkable group of photographs comprising Lots 161 through 200 in this auction come from the collection of Fred and Laura Bidwell, collectors, philanthropists, and founders of the Transformer Station, the renowned exhibition space for contemporary photography and art in the Hingetown neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The Bidwells’ collection presents a truly enlightened selection of work, ranging from classic practitioners such as Lee Friedlander and Stephen Shore to photographers working at the very cutting edge of today’s artistic practice, such as Kehinde Wiley, Zanele Muholi, and Hank Willis Thomas, among many others. Themes of identity and self-representation course through these works. An inquiry into the intrinsic nature of photography is another through-line, with artists as conceptually diverse as Alison Rossiter, Matthew Brandt, and Christopher Williams pushing the boundaries of the medium to deepen our understanding of it. Central to the collection is Hiroshi Sugimoto’s masterful Lightning Fields 128 (lot 169), which is emblematic of the creative spark underlying Bidwells’ progressive conception of photography.


    Driven by a passion for photography and a desire to make their collection accessible to the public, the Bidwells renovated a former Cleveland Railway Company transformer substation into a state-of-the-art exhibition venue. Boasting 3,500 square feet of exhibition space, the Transformer Station became a vital part of the city’s artistic community, hosting exhibitions drawn from the Bidwells’ collection, exhibitions curated by the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as performances and talks. Earlier this year, the Bidwells gifted Transformer Station to the Cleveland Museum of Art which will continue to use this unique space. 


    Proceeds from the sale of these works will support the Bidwells’ active philanthropic endeavors.




    Read More about High Voltage →


    • Provenance

      Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

    • Exhibited

      Light of Day, Transformer Station, Cleveland, 3 February - 6 May 2013
      Achievement in Art: The Fred and Laura Bidwell Collection of Photography, Amarillo Museum of Art, Amarillo, 18 January - 23 March 2014

    • Literature

      Uzzle, Just Add Water: Burk Uzzle, p. 11

High Voltage: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection of Fred and Laura Bidwell


Desert Prada, Marfa Texas

Carbon print.
23 1/4 x 29 1/2 in. (59.1 x 74.9 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered 2/10 in pencil on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $8,255

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023